I know what I know

Hotels are like a bit of a different world. These little boxes of isolation around the world. Where all manner of indiscretions, infidelities and illegality appear to take place (I’ve seen movies, I’ve seen what happens).

Not that these things ever seem to happen when I go to hotels, no one dies, police never charge down the door looking for drug dealers. Such is life.

Instead I sit around fantasizing about ordering a room service sandwich at 4am and unwrapping all the little miniature bars of soap. Endlessly satisfying.

My personal bug bear is the little sachets of instant coffee. Yes it’s all well and good having a kettle and a few cups but what’s the use if it’s some shitty instant coffee stuff. I despair.

Every hotel you go to you’ll find a nice copy of a Gideon bible in one drawer of the bedside cabinet (something I always remember when travelling so i don’t need to bring me own…) yet in this place you’ll find the Gideon’s in one bedside cabinet and a guide to Buddhism in the other one. It’s a double room so there’s a big double bed with two bedside cabinets. Maybe the husband and wife go to bed convinced Muslims and wake up the next morning a different religion. Neat idea really. If I get a chance I’ll expound a bit on the guide to Buddhism. I’m an ulsterman – I’m nothing if not ignorant.

I’m back in a hotel cause I’m down in Dublin for the (hopefully) third and final part of my membership of the college of emergency medicine (we’re not a royal college yet, we’re too much of a baby speciality in the world of medicine yet) – which if I pass it will give me the privilege of spending 2 or 3 hundred pounds a year to be a member of said college. I’m not sure what else I get for it. Well I suppose I get a few more letters after my name making me the esteemed and confused Nelly And I MB BCh BaO MCEM 5M SwIM bADGe… Da would be proud.

To become a member of the college of emergency medicine (and I know you’re both gagging to…) you have to undergo a series of trials each more fiendish than the next, solving puzzles and surviving death defying trials… OK well maybe not…

It comes in three parts, the first is multiple choice (or multiple guess depending on your level of knowledge). I passed this first time with a comfortable margin of 1%.

Part B is a nice little short note style question format. Thankfully, and surprisingly based on real-life situations that you might encounter everyday in work. This is unlike some exam situations when you’re given the case of the 98 year old pregnant lady with sickle cell trait who is also Jehovah Witness and was born with no kidneys, one lung and two heads, who presents with a ruptured aortic abdominal aneurysm who is too drowsy to consent to surgery and blood transfusion…

Part B was fine. I passed it despite thrombolysing the pregnant lady with the large inferolateral MI. Yes, I hear you cry, of course she should have undergone primary PCI and screw the radiation effects on a third trimester foetus. Next time I see a pregnant lady with an inferolateral MI I’ll do better, honest…

Part C is somewhat like your driving test. I’m sure you remember,  deep in the midst of time the concept of mirror, signal, manoeuvre. Though I suspect it is now text, change the track on the ipod, manoeuvre…

There are lots of things that you read in medical textbooks and read in medical books that you neither see nor do in real life. I haven’t done tactile vocal fremitus on a patient for a long time. largely since the invention of this new and fancy chest x-ray thingy. It’s great. Who knows what they’ll come up with next.

So now that it’s an exam I’m expected to go back to do all the things I learnt (well what I was supposed to learn instead of playing footy, reading CS Lewis and dreaming about pretty girls) in medical school. Though largely, useless it has at least finally given me a decent understanding and performance at a neurological examination. This has been a pleasant surprise.

I expect to fail it despite the time I’ve spent perfecting my instrument suturing technique on my grey fleece in the hotel room. Though I might get lucky.

Anyhow. Studying done. I can run through my planned cranial nerve examination in a neat mnemonic in less than 30 seconds. I am ready to nail this sucker. I say that now.

I tried the pub next door to study in (you doubt me but pubs and indie music are great study aids i find…) , which was empty and horrible and flitted between Joy Division and Enrique Iglesias and both so loud that i couldn’t drown it out with astral weeks, no matter how hard I tried. I abandoned it for the hotel lobby which is at least quiet though doesn’t appear to stock any salt and vinegar crisps.

Buddha and bed methinks.

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5 Responses to “I know what I know”


  1. 1 dr bloggs January 22, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Dear Dr N,

    Good luck with your Buddhist diversions. They will calm your soul better than the instant coffee tribulations that hotel rooms can offer…. I suspect.Entering collegiate exams can make one lean towards a stary-eyed agnostic almost fugue-like state when asked the simplest non-metaphysical questions

    I do hope you manage to be appropriately tactile and that your customers are adequately vocal and that your fremitus is a truly marvellous thing that the examiners clap their hands in glee as the slap each other on the back while you elicit

    Dr Bloggs

  2. 2 Nelly And I January 22, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Ta Dr Bloggs.

    The pregnant lady was only 15 in the end and didn’t appear to have a leaking aneurysm. Big relief all round.

    I tended to finish the stations a minute or two too early and was left with this awkward kind of silence… “so do you wear make up and pretend to have facial fractures often…?”

    Everyone was glad when the bell rang

  3. 3 dr bloggs January 23, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    you resorted to wearing make-up and pretending to have a facial fracture..

    gosh

    I do admit though – sometimes I feign the odd fit to get out of small talk or more questioning

    dr b


  1. 1 College exams « Dr Bloggs’s Blog Trackback on January 22, 2009 at 10:27 am

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